Taxi drivers say sky-high insurance premiums are forcing some to consider early retirement instead
Ontario taxi drivers say they are treated like criminals, or worse.
Since just before the pandemic, taxi drivers say insurers have forced them to buy commercial vehicle insurance through the facilities market – usually for drivers who can’t be approved for traditional insurance because insurers have them. considered too risky.
“[It’s} usually reserved for people charged with stunt driving, DUIs, or anything going into vehicular manslaughter or other problems like that,” said JT Pearson, Office Manager at Kitchener-based City Cabs.
“The worst part is, anybody who even has the worst driving record in the world would have the opportunity, through improved performance, to get out of the facilities market,” he said. “Unfortunately we cannot.”
Pearson said this has meant some drivers have seen a two- to three-fold increase in their premiums.
“Some of our drivers used to have rates down in the 35-[hundred] at $4,000 a year and are now looking at 11, 12, 13,000 a year for insurance,” he said, adding that those rates climb even higher for drivers involved in a collision, whether they’re at-fault or not.
In addition to sky-high insurance rates, Pearson said taxi drivers have also faced significant additional pandemic-related costs in recent years, while digging deeper into their pockets to pay the sky-high prices. gas and paying more for a new used vehicle. .
“A lot of these factors have forced some of our drivers to look at the track record and say it’s just not possible for us to get ahead as a taxi driver,” Pearson said.
Pearson said the extra costs have already been passed on, in part, to passengers, but drivers and businesses know they can also feel the financial strain.
“I know it, we feel it, but what we see every day is that we’re not the only ones,” he said.
“We see these customers every day, we see them weekly for appointments, every other week for groceries, we know how that affects them as well,” Pearson added. “These are not people who have money, we cannot look at a pensioner and look at their fixed income and say ‘you have to pay more for these services’, they will not be able to afford what we would have charged. “
Pearson, meanwhile, launched a petition calling on the province to stand up for taxi drivers and their passengers and demand a “reasonable alternative” to the facilities market option.